Edmonton Music Awards removes gender-based categories

Nobody will be named Female Artist of the Year at the 2019 Edmonton Music Awards.

Nobody will win Male Artist of the Year, either.

Both of those gender-based honours have been dropped — and there will be no replacement award under a new name.

“The decision to eliminate the Female and Male Artist of the Year is about our culture evolving and gender lines finally being erased,” Mikki Dublanko, EMA director of operations, said in a news release Monday.

“The EMAs must genuinely reflect the members of our community, and moving away from gender-identifying awards is something we’ve been discussing for some time.”

The move puts the Edmonton Music Awards in line with other awards shows that have eliminated awards for male and female performers.

MTV’s Movie & TV Awards have been gender-neutral since 2017. In Toronto, the Dora Mavor Moore Awards for theatre will be gender-neutral for the first time next year.

In a related move announced Monday, the EMA is also eliminating the Group of the Year and Artist to Watch categories.

“We feel the focus should be celebrating the music recorded in that calendar year,” Dublanko said in the release.

“Artists submit to their respective genres and that is a better representation of the recorded works.”

The changes announced Monday will be effective for 2019.

Submissions for the 2019 awards open Friday, Aug. 31 for music released in the 2018 calendar year.

EMA receives more than 300 submissions every year from Edmonton and area artists.

Submissions are judged by more than 100 music industry professionals who volunteer to be part of the Edmonton and Area Recording Selection Committee.

The awards gala is held at the end of June each year.

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